Is it legal for a creditor to hit me with a garnishment if they failed to serve the paperwork properly?

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Is it legal for a creditor to hit me with a garnishment if they failed to serve the paperwork properly?

A couple months ago my paperwork was served to my 17 year old babysitter. She handed me 1 page out of 3-4. She misplaced the rest. I called the number on that page. I told him about this company I was sending money to every 2 weeks. They were supposed to send out money to my different creditors until they were paid. He said nothing was received. Well verbally we agreed to me sending him $300 down and whatever I could afford a month after. When I received the paperwork it said $300 a month. I can’t afford that. Now I got a garnishment paper in the mail. Please tell me what I should do?

Asked on April 29, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Arizona

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Service of te paperwork here is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed.  They obtained some form of a judgement against you as well that they are executing or acting upon (the wage garnishment) and what you need to do is to go down to the court that issued the judgement and ask that you be allowed to "vacate the default" against you and that they "stay" garnishment.  Indicate that you were never properly served with the paperwork.  It is known as an affirmative defense.  Also list that the matter was settled (you reached an agreement) and try and get before the court.  Now, what really worries me here is this company that you were dealing with. Sounds like they are taking your money and doing nothing for you.  This is an issue that you MUST bring up with the judge and show him or her the proof that you have been sending money thinking they were taking care of your debt.  And you need to contact your state attorney general's office and file a complaint.  Good luck to you.


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